Man of Mystery
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 14:17-24 (KJV)
It is with fascination that I notice that when one has his treasure in this world he falls with its kings and is captured like all the possessions. However, if the heart is on the Lord you will never fall.
Lot, backsliden, his heart drawn away by the pleasures of the world, worshipped the material, and went into captivity with the material. Abraham worshipped the God of Heaven and delivered all the people and their possessions from the captivity.
It is also interesting to notice that when Bera, the king of Sodom shows up, that Melchizedek king of Salem, and priest of the Most High God [El Elyon] comes to Abraham’s aid. Bera comes offering Abraham great material wealth as a reward for his victory. Abraham has, however, vowed to God that he would not take any reward from these perverse and rebellious people, lest they claim they have made Abraham rich (vv. 22-23).
Mechizedek’s appearance is reward enough for the “Friend of God”. Who is this Melchizedek? He is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament – here in Genesis and in Psalm 110:4; and the most mentioned of him is in the New Testament book of Hebrews. This scarcity makes him somewhat of a mystery character. Who is he? This Old Testament account calls him the king of Salem [present day Jerusalem]. He is called “the priest of the most High God [El Elyon] = “Possessor of heaven and earth”.
It seems that we are given license in Scripture of Melchizedek as a “type” of the Christ. “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” is written in a messianic Psalm (110) prophesying of the throne at the Father’s right hand, and His judgment on the nations.
There are good and godly scholars and pastors who believe Melchizedek to be a pre-incarnate visitation of Jesus Christ. The problem with that is he appears as an earthly king to Abraham – a highly honored one to be sure – yet he is the king of an earthly city. Another problem is Paul spaks of him in Hebrews 7:3 as, “…Made like unto the Son of God”. This certainly implies “type” or “Shadow” rather than substance.
In understanding who Melchizedek is we must first realize the mystery involved. Understand also, that, Scriptures were “God breathed” inspired by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes what is missing is, or can be a clue to correct interpretation. In Melchizedek’s case we have no record of his genealogy; “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life”. Yet, the Holy Spirit gives us a genealogy of our Lord’s human birth.
Let’s compare the two. Melchizedek: “Without mother or father”; no birth, nor death; A gentile priest of God; King of righteousness; King of Salem; A priest continually. Now let’s look at the One who is the substance of the shadow – Jesus Christ: without mother or father – in his deity only; no birth, nor death – also in deity only; a priest of God from the tribe of Judah (Both Melchizedek – Gentile priest of God, and Jesus – are declared by God to be priests); King of righteousness; King of Jerusalem; a priest continually – “after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16).
The comparisons are many. The one, however, is a shadow of the substance.
Abraham worships the “Most High God” by giving “tithes of all”. A tithe is one tenth. It is encouraging to notice that the tithe was initiated before the law of Moses. Not being subject to the law makes it a wonderful starting place for giving. To give less would be to insult the grace of God. Giving God ten percent of all acknowledges Him as Lord of all. We are to give willingly, cheerfully, proportionately, and promptly. Ten percent is a good starting place, but as God blesses the one’s who have a giving spirit will want to increase their giving for the glory of our Lord (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). This is proportionate giving, “…as God has prospered him”.
The true worshipper of God gives all to God, and withholds nothing.